ROGERS PARK — Political newcomer Maria Hadden declared victory in the race for 49th Ward alderman Tuesday, ousting longtime incumbent Joe Moore.
With 87.9 percent of precincts reporting, Hadden had 64.5 percent of the vote to Moore’s 35.5 percent.
Moore has been the alderman of the Far North Side ward since 1991.
“We’ve done what no one thought was possible: We’ve defeated a 28-year incumbent and proved to our fellow Chicagoans that we the people deserve better representation in City Council,” Hadden told supporters Tuesday night.
Hadden will be the first openly gay black woman in Chicago history to be elected to alderman.
Hadden built a grassroots campaign that garnered much vocal and financial support from local organizers and progressive politicians like David Orr and Chuy Garcia, who both once supported Moore.
“Maria is a true leader, unlike the previous alderman, who would take credit for everything and take the blame for nothing,” Orr said at Hadden’s victory party.
Anna Mangahas from One People’s Campaign said she was overwhelmed by and excited about Hadden’s election.
“I’m happy and ready to go to work to help Maria’s plan come to fruition,” she said.
Central to Hadden’s campaign was reforming the way development is done in the area. She refused to take any money from developers, a practice she said she will continue while in office. She criticized Moore for his history of taking developer money.
Moore hammered Hadden with attack ads and negative campaign mailers while touting his experience and record. He made it clear that if he was not elected, Hadden would not enjoy the same aldermanic budget since Moore sits on multiple committees.
Moore is one of the most senior alderman and chairs the Committee on Housing and Real Estate, presiding over key issues like affordable housing and real estate acquisitions for the city.
Hadden has pledged to align herself with the progressive, black and LGBT caucuses. Although she will be a freshman alderman, she said she is hoping to have a real impact on City Hall from day one.
Joined by her partner, Natalia Vera, and her parents, Hadden said she was looking forward to taking a few days off to celebrate. But she urged her supporters to turn their eyes toward other races that are heading to a runoff.
“How are we going to bring more independent progressive voices to Chicago?” she asked the crowd.
The 49th Ward includes most of Rogers Park and has long been known for its diversity and progressive values.